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One Thing Mitt Romney and Gov. Fallin Disagree On: Wind Energy Tax Credits

Filed by KOSU News in State Impact.
September 11, 2012

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A wind farm in Western, Okla.

Mitt Romney and Republican governor’s have a lot in common, especially when it comes to their positions on energy policy.

The Republican presidential candidate’s energy plan — written with the help of top his top energy adviser Harold Hamm, an Oklahoma billionaire and CEO of oil giant Continental Resources — focuses more on oil and natural gas than renewable energy resources, like wind.

But Romney doesn’t want to extend a federal subsidy for the wind industry, which Stateline’s Jim Malewitz writes, puts him at odds with wind-state governors like Mary Fallin, who have been howling for the tax credit’s renewal.

Click here to read Gov. Mary Fallin’s letter to Congress regarding the wind energy production tax credit.

In a February letter to Congress, Gov. Fallin said the tax credit, which returns 2.2 cents per kilowatt hour of wind energy produced, is key to developing wind-energy technology.

” … the credit needs to be extended immediately to create certainty today,” Fallin wrote.

States like Colorado, Iowa, Kansas and South Dakota have been eager for wind-industry development, both from an energy production standpoint and from economic activity associated with developing and manufacturing turbines and related technology.

And uncertainty over the tax credit has already been cited in wind industry setbacks here in Oklahoma. In August, wind tower manufacturer DMI Industries announced plans to close its Tulsa factory. More than 160 employees will lose their jobs when the factory closes in November, and the he looming tax credit expiration was a factor in that decision, company officials said.

Romney announced his opposition to the tax credit in July, Stateline reports:

“He will allow the wind credit to expire, end the stimulus boondoggles, and create a level playing field on which all sources of energy can compete on their merits,” Shawn McCoy, a campaign spokesman, told the Des Moines Register.

And Republican governors have since quieted down about the issue, which President Barack Obama — who supports the wind energy tax credit — has tried to exploit.

“I do think they’re tip-toeing,” Chris Larimer, a state politics expert at the University of Northern Iowa, tells Stateline. “You don’t want to be the governor to lose your state for the party candidate.”

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